Impact of organic solvents and environmental pollutants on the physiological function in petrol filling workers.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2008 Sep;5(3):139-46. PMID: 19139531
Department of Physiology, Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, India.
Long term exposure to solvents and air pollutants can lead to deleterious effects on respiratory, haematological and thyroid functioning. The aim of this study was to investigate whether chronic exposure to solvents like benzene and pollutants like carbon monoxide in petrol filling workers had adverse effect on blood parameters, thyroid and respiratory functions. The study group consisted of 42 healthy, non-smoker petrol filling workers, aged 20-50 years with work (exposure) duration from 2-15 years while 36 healthy subjects of the same age group served as controls. Physical examination and measurement of pulmonary functions by portable electronic spirometer were performed. Complete blood pictures (CBP) were determined by normal haematology lab procedure and hormones by Chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) light absorption techniques. There was a significant decrease in the lung volumes and capacities; the restrictive pattern was more prevalent in the workers when compared with the control groups. But in the workers exposed for long period (more than 10 years) the restrictive pattern was changed to mixed pattern. A significant increase in haemoglobin (Hb) (>16 mg %) and red blood cells (RBC) (5.4 million cells/mm3) were observed in workers with longer period of exposure when compared with the control subjects (14.483 mg% and 4.83 million cells/mm3 for Hb and RBC respectively). White blood cell count except eosinophils and platelets were significantly lower in workers compared to controls. Marked increase in the tetra iodothyroinine (T4), free thyroxine (T4F) level and significant decrease in thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH), and tri-iodothyronine (T3) were observed between long term exposed and non-exposed groups. Till now researchers focused only on the effect of solvents in workers professionally exposed to solvents without considering the effect of concomittant air pollution. The result obtained from present study indicates that there is a significant toxic effect of solvents and air pollutants on workers exposed for longer duration. Improved detection and prevention technologies are needed to answer environmentally related health questions for petrol filling workers.